In September 2015, we were privileged to welcome the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority President & CEO Bill Hanna back to the Ideas in Motion Media studios to get an update on the RDA's major economic development projects. Joining Hanna in his fourth visit was the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District CEO & General Manager Michael Noland, who has been on the job for about a year after a long career managing the Chicago suburban Metra rail lines.
The duo talked with IIMM Publisher Chris Mahlmann about not only the RDA's West Lake Corridor, but also the proposed South Shore Rail Line double-tracking proposal designed to improve track reliability and all around travel time for commuters.
Michigan City was the city most cited as a potential winner when it comes to double tracking, with improvements putting "the city by the lake" right in the hour-travel-time "sweet zone" that many commuters are looking to stay within when commuting to and from downtown Chicago.
"We want a second lane so we can improve the service, reduce the travel times, and add more trains so we can have hour-long travel times (from Michigan City to Chicago)," explained Noland. "You're right on Lake Michigan, you've got beautiful beaches, the zoo, a thriving downtown area that is developing today - when you add that to the mix, you'll see Michigan City take off."
Hanna talked about Portage, Ogden Dunes, and other areas he feels will benefit and grow because of an increased viability as a home for many looking to move into a Chicago suburb.
"The kind of folks who have discretionary income to spend in the businesses that are there now - everyone wins," said Hanna. "Everybody wins on this - Miller, East Chicago, Hammond."
You can find all of the videos below, and you can listen to the full interview by clicking "Play" below.
For more information on the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, click here. For more information on the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, click here.
The South Shore Rail's Future Impact
The Benefit of the South Shore Rail Expansion